A company named Outerlab assembles disposables drones in 30 minutes and sends them to deliver items. The plan is to launch them from a C-17 transport plane. Hundreds of drones would glide to their destination, which can be up to 150 kilometers away. Their long range is due to an efficient glide ratio. Each drone is made of cardboard and have a guidance system consisting of GPS, small servos, a disposal battery, and autopilot mode. It can land within 10 meters of the target. Up to 1 kilogram can be delivered. Afterward, the drone degrades and disappears on its own. This type of drone delivery is useful in rural areas and disaster zones. Food and medical supplies can be delivered easily to these regions.
Otherlab receives funding from DARPA under the ICARUS program. ICARUS stands for Inbound, Controlled, Air-Releasable, Unrecoverable Systems. DARPA is funding another program called VAPR, which stands for Vanishing Programmable Resources. The goal of this program is to create electronics that “physically disappear[ing] in a controlled triggereable manner.”
Outerlab’s drone is named APSARA, which stands for Aerial Platform Supporting Autonomous Resupply/Actions. Here’s a video showing it gliding after it was released from a more advanced drone:
Source: IEEE Spectrum